St David of Scotland

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Scotland's greatest king was the sixth and youngest son of St Margaret of Scotland and Malcolm III, born in 1085. He married Matilda daughter of Waldef, the Anglo-Saxon Earl of Northampton and Huntingdon which gave him a claim to the earldom Northumberland.

For many years he waged a long and unsuccessful war against England, but after being crowned king of Scotland in 1124, around the age of 40, he devoted his life to peaceful activities and became known as a kind, just and liberal king.

Historians say he was responsible for making Scotland into a modern nation, by reforming the legal system and public administration and encouraging trade and the foundation of towns. He also encouraged the Scottish church to establish a system of dioceses. Under his rule many monasteries, hospitals and almshouses were founded.

David prayed the Divine Office daily, received Communion each week and gave generous alms to the poor - often in person as his mother had done. He died on this day in 1153 and was buried at Dunfermline. His shrine was a popular place of pilgrimage until the Reformation. One of the patron saints of Scotland, many churches are named after him.

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